Historian's Office 





 A 1792 tax roll

The law for the organization of Ontario County was enacted by the state legislature in 1789. It split off the entire western part of the state from Montgomery County because the latter was so large as to inconvenience settlers who might want to visit the county seat. Justices of the Court of Sessions were authorized to divide the new county into such districts as they should think expedient. The first division was into the districts of Canandaigua, Tolland, Sodus, Seneca and Jerusalem. Much of present Yates County, though not all of it, was included in the last, which was organized as a town in 1792. The first supervisor was Thomas Lee, and in that year the first tax was collected. The original roll apparently no longer exists, but Stafford Cleveland printed a copy in his 1873 history of the county, mentioning that he was indebted to Adam Clark of Torrey for it. The roll is dated 25 May 1792 and includes these names: 

Peleg Briggs, Peleg Briggs Jr., John Briggs, Isaac Nichols, John Supplee, William Davis, William Robinson, Micajah Brown, Elijah Brown, Beloved Luther, Thomas Sherman, James Hathaway, Lewis Birdsall, Daniel Brown Jr., John Lawrence, Abraham Dayton, Richard Smith, Adam Hunt, Silas Hunt, Silas Spink, Thomas Prentiss, James Parker Esq., David Wagener, Jesse Dains, Castle Dains, Eleazer Ingraham, Amos Guernsey, Reuben Luther, George Sisson, Sheffield Luther, Ezekiel Shearman, Noah Richards, Hezekiah Townsend, Joseph Landers, Enoch & Elijah Malin, Stephen Card, Benedict Robinson, Sarah Richards, Elnathan Botsford, Widow Mercy Aldrich, Susannah & Temperance Brown, Jonathan Dains, Asahel Stone, Jonathan Botsford, Jacob Wagener, Jedediah Holmes, Thomas Hathaway, Abel Botsford, Benajah Mallory, Benjamin Brown, John Blake, Anna Wagener, Elijah Botsford, Barnabas Brown, Levi Benton, Samuel Taylor, Capt. Daniel Brown, James Spencer, Martin Spencer, Richard Hathaway, Philemon Baldwin, James Scofield, George Wheeler, John Pond, Perley Dean, Robert Chissom, Truman Spencer, Abraham Voak, Edward Walworth. 

The roll is signed by Thomas Hathaway Jr. as tax collector. He complained at the time that he had found all the taxpayers only with some difficulty because most of them were scattered in the woods away from the roads. 

It is remarkable that unlike many tax rolls, this one was apparently taken down geographically, and it is possible to deduce from it where the household was located. They were all in the modern towns of Milo, Torrey and Benton. Of the 72 taxpayers listed, all but 16 were members of the Society of Universal Friends. The Friend herself was listed under the name of Sarah Richards, who held her property in trust. A complete transcription of this tax roll is on line, as well as others that still exist from the period before 1823, when the towns were still part of Ontario County.